Summary: The seven churches of Revelation are a picture of the types members in local congregations. They reveal what Christ sees when he looks at the Body of Christ.
CONDITION FOR REVIVAL: SEEING THE CHURCH AS CHRIST SEES THE CHURCH
Introduction: We have looked at two conditions which prepare us for revival and a fresh outpouring from God; the first – Seeing God in His Holiness; the second – Seeing Ourselves as God Sees Us. Today we look at a third condition; seeing the church as Christ sees the church.
In Revelation 2 and 3, we have Christ giving to John a message to the seven churches established in Asia Minor. Each church is given a description of what Christ has observed in them. Christ gives messages of rebuke, instruction, and encouragement to these churches. These churches, prophetically, are symbolic of the church age and the course of church history. But they are also a picture of the various types members of local congregations. They reveal what Christ sees when he looks at the Body of Christ.
I. The Church at Ephesus – Revelation 2:1-6
A. Here was a church filled with Christians who go through the motions.
B. Here we see members who believe the right things, who work ceaselessly, and who stand resolutely but who do it all mechanically without a love for what they are doing, without a love for those who they do it with, or without a growing and deepening love of Him who redeemed them. They are active and busy but doing what they do without the right motivation. Their hearts are not in what they are doing.
C. Revelation 2:4 “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
D. They have forgotten that one part of their calling is to grow in grace, knowledge, and love for God.
E. 2 Peter 3:18 “...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
F. Philippians 1:19 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment”
G. Keys to knowing when one has lost their first love from Pulpit Helps:
1. When my delight in the Lord is no longer as great as my delight in someone else, I have lost my first love.
2. When my soul does not long for times of rich fellowship in God’s Word or in prayer, I have lost my first love.
3. When my thoughts during leisure moments do not reflect upon the Lord, I have lost my first love.
4. When I claim to be “only human” and easily give in to those things I know displease the Lord, I have lost my first love.
5. When I do not willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work or to the needs of others, I have lost my first love.
6. When I cease to treat every Christian Brother as I would the Lord, I have lost my first love.
7. When I view the commands of Christ as restrictions to my happiness rather than expressions of His love, I have lost my first love.
8. When I inwardly strive for the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of the Lord, I have lost my first love.
9. When I fail to make Christ or His words known because I fear rejection, I have lost my first love.
10. When I refuse to give up an activity which I know is offending a weaker brother, I have lost my first love.
11. When I become complacent to sinful conditions around me, I have lost my first love.